Friday, October 9, 2009

A long and convoluted trail of misery.

That has been the name of the game for this title. The title of my new WIP, that is.

Normally I know three things when I begin a book: The first sentence, the basics of the plot, and the title. And when I say normally I do mean all of the books I've ever written. Even when I was five. (And Rabbit, Where is the Moon? is a LOVELY title when you're five!!)

While I have finished revisions on PG and sent off to beta readers (well within my timeframe still!) and begin to contemplate the revisions for FS, the title of the new book has eluded me. Not so the plot, or the characters...wherever I'm at, whatever I'm doing they're there, standing silently or walking past the corner of my eyesight. It's rather like being haunted, really.

But I digress.


So yesterday morning on the way to work I was desperately thinking...what do I call this book? Because I cannot begin it before I have a title! At this point, I was even willing to settle for some so-called "working title" (and yes, I know editors change the titles and hey, if they buy my book we can go that route but I need something I like for right now. Or, starting November).

Once I got to work (oh, the beauty of being at work! And I can't believe I just said that) I was sufficiently busy to not worry/obsess about it any more.

And that's when it happened.

A major plot point exploded in front of my eyes in a burst of rainbow coloured and puppy-dog breath scented sparks. Voila! And then ....

... and then ...

... my Title came to me. And it's possible that this is the Coolest Title I've ever had, and I've had some good ones (she says, modestly). My only concern is whether it's too witty or not (as it's a direct play on said plot line and normal mystery tropes), but hey, I live dangerously around here.


Say hello to my newest endeavor (beginning in November, and yes, I'm doing NaNo just so I can meet some other Berlin peeps, but if you're doing it too add me as a writing buddy - I'm jaekaebee there) :::

Panic at the Dog Show: A Florence & Bo Mystery

(Extra huge bonus points and german chocolate for those that figure out the reference).

And you? What comes to you first about a new WIP? What must you have to start it?


  1. HAHA..I know what it means. I think it's great.

    Me? I just need to flesh out the plot and threads from front to back in a notebook, and then the names come to me. I don't even bother with the title until I'm querying. I like the title to accent the query, but know the odds are it will change. I have zero attachment.

  2. OH! And best of luck with NaNo, I'm diving in again this year, too. Absolutely.

  3. Normally, the general idea for the manuscript comes first, though every now and then the character will come first. Hey, it happens. The title . . . well, sometimes it comes easily, and other times I have to work really hard to come up with a title . . . which often changes as the manuscript progresses.

    I have two projects in the beginning idea stage where I have no idea of title, or character names . . . just one to two word descriptions of character. E.g. Queen, Queen's Husband, Queen's Stepson, Dragon Queen, Missing Prince, etc. As I write these characters the names will fall into place. I've often had to change a name because as I wrote, things about the character changed from the initial concept and the name no longer fit.

    Ahhh, the joys of writing.


  4. What comes first for me? The victim. Everything flows from that. I don't sweat about titles at all. They come when they come.


  5. I writhe and spin and twist and agonize over titles. With my current novel on submission (With A Name Like Love) some realy love the title and some hate it. Oh well.

    And, I really like your title! Panic at the dogshow? I'm in!

  6. That's a good question. With the series of YA flavored epic fantasy I'm working on the characters, their relationships with each other and the plot came first. It was all just THERE all of a sudden. Titles have been flip flopped and changed, although I've always had a title of some sort for each one of them. Of the four, one had a title right from the off.

    The post-apocalyptic YA I'm writing had a title instantly. It's also the main character's name. And with that book the first line came first of all.

    The other YA fantasy series I'm writing has a title for each book. But it was the characters and their situation that came first.

  7. I usually start with jotting down plot, setting, and character ideas.

    Shouldn't that be "Panic! At the Dog Show"?
    My current WIP has no title yet...not even a working title, just a bunch of genres that's I've abbreviated to SPHAR.


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